Musical intelligence, eternally underestimated ability

For decades, the concept of intelligence has had a strong impact on human life.

CI tests are applied in the selection of staff and in schools, getting a score or another in one of them can have a great impact on self-esteem and, in addition, these measures are a good predictor of the economic situation and of life expectancy.

However, some psychologists believe that there is not a single measure of intellect, but many types of intelligence, and some are grossly underestimated. the musical intelligence would be an example.

What is musical intelligence?

Musical intelligence belongs to the model of multiple intelligences unveiled by the American psychologist Howard Gardner, and is a concept that refers to the capacities and sensitivities linked to musical sensitivity, when it comes to producing and perceiving it as such. with all its nuances.

It is completely independent of hearing ability, And therefore only affects the ability to process sound information of simple or very complex musical pieces, and there is no need to incorporate it into specific musical genres. What defines musical intelligence is complete freedom to create and enjoy music.

What are people with musical intelligence like?

Someone with musical intelligence he is particularly adept at detecting nuances in melodies, thinking in terms of rhythm, timbre and tone and distinguish similar sounds which sound separately or simultaneously. In turn, they will also have an easier time expressing themselves musically, either by composing musical pieces performed by themselves or by conducting a musical ensemble in which many elements of the piece to be performed must be kept in mind. mind.

Musical intelligence can be broken down into several skills. These skills are held to a relative degree and have nothing to do with a perfect and absolute ability to exercise them. Here are a few, by way of example.

  • Sensitivity during identification the rhythm, tone, melody and timbre of a piece of music.
  • Relative ease of composing or performing musical pieces originals, and when reproducing or adapting them with reference to another piece of music.
  • Ease of finding resources with which to capture emotional states or ideas through music.
  • Easy recognition of hidden musical pieces which appear to be a mere noise.
  • Ability to recognize different musical genres that influence a piece of music.
  • Easy to create melodies by making various objects resonate improvised.

Musical intelligence is educated

According to Howard Gardner, musical intelligence is one of the first types of intelligence to appear throughout the development and growth of people, being present in the first months of life. So, its existence does not depend on whether we have received a formal education in music or not, And even less if we know music theory. However, if you want to significantly improve in musical intelligence, then you need to practice and devote hours per week to training in a systematic way.

This, added to the fact that musical intelligence could be closely related to logical-mathematical intelligence and skills related to creative thinking, has some groups claiming the need for schools to devote efforts to help improve this type. intelligence by using programs to stimulate musical intelligence. . Efforts are also being made to disseminate exercises with which parents can educate the little ones and musical intelligence from the first weeks and according to the stages of growth they are going through.

A final reflection

The idea of ​​multiple intelligences popularized by Howard Gardner is both loved and hated. The fact that this is a classification of different mental abilities has earned him criticism from those who believe that intelligence can be explained by studying a single intelligence factor (Spearman’s G-factor). however, it also opens the door to understanding the intellect as something broader than conventional IC testing..

Musical intelligence is one of the great counterpoints that the multiple intelligences model puts on the table: a legitimate intelligence by the simple fact of belonging to the artistic and creative facet of the human being, Although not applicable to work and productive equipment such as logical-mathematical intelligence.

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